North America Tour Log – April
April 1, 5:32pm
Just completed our last show in Washington, DC! This concludes our two-week run of 13 Kennedy Center shows. It's a five-hour drive back to home base in New York, where we'll get to recuperate for a day before heading northwest.
April 3, 5:51am
It's 850 miles to Madison, Wisconsin—about 15 hours on the road—so we have to get up real early. Not that it matters. We've been through so many all-day bus rides already, we're primed for this measly 15-hour trip.
April 5, 11:45pm
After two shows at Madison’s Overture Center for the Arts, we just finished striking the stage (not literally, for the most part) and are now packed and heading back to the hotel. We need to get a good night’s rest, because tomorrow we face one of this tour’s longest bus rides. We're traveling nonstop for two days to get to Canada’s Calgary, which means we'll be spending one night on the bus. We did something similar during last year's Europe tour, but this doesn't happen often. Sleeping on the bus, of course, isn't that great, but this time I've come prepared with pillows and blankets and whatnot.
April 6, 00:27am
Some of us order pizza.
April 6, 1:27pm
After a relaxing morning at the hotel, we're now sitting on the bus ready to face our greatest challenge: remain seated for the next 30 hours. Canada, here we come!
April 6, 10:31pm
It’s been nine hours, and so far we've only stopped twice. At a gas station, everyone is cramming around the sinks, brandishing toothbrushes in preparation for the night. I'd better stop typing and find my toothbrush, too.
April 7, 3:33am
I wake up with a gigantic cramp in my neck. Where the heck are we? The rest of the bus is fast asleep (except the driver, of course). Looking outside the window, I'm greeted by a full moon against the night sky, casting its gloomy light upon the flat, barren plains that extend towards the horizon. It's a rare glimpse into the beauty of nature, one that could be turned into a piece of art or used as desktop wallpaper. North Dakota? Or maybe Montana? Back to sleep.
April 7, 7:01am
My uneasy slumber is disturbed again, this time by the bus stopping at a gas station. Looking around, I discover we're now in the countryside. The highway has been transformed into a simple two-lane road. Buildings are few and far between, and vast areas of land are covered in snow. I decide to grab some breakfast, and take note of the local people’s accent. A few minutes later, we’re back on the bus, leaving the small town behind and continuing our journey across the plains.
April 7, 11:29am
We've arrived at the U.S.-Canada border at a place called Wild Horse. The difference between the Canadian and American immigration buildings is striking. The American building looks relatively modern, has multiple car lanes, and a three-meter-high fence surrounding it. A bit like a high-security prison, I guess. The Canadian building is much less intimidating—a modest two-story house connected to a waiting area with accompanying stop signs, surrounded by a small barbed wire fence.
The two officers on duty have never dealt with such a large group of people before, and the immigration process takes some time. I grab the chance to teach my fellow performers the Aussie version of handball‚ the game everyone played back in primary school during recess. Amidst the excitement, however, one of the tennis balls escapes into the grassy area between the Canadian fence and the American fence… no man's land, I presume? We decide it’s not safe to venture into the area between two countries and so, reluctantly, the ball is abandoned.
April 7, 5:45pm
Hang on! I thought we're in Canada—why does it feel like we're still in the U.S.? Everything is so similar, from the roads littered with billboards to the Walmart we just passed by... oh, wait, here’s a Tim Horton’s and a Shoppers Drug Mart. Yeah, we're in Canada.
April 7, 6:15pm
Our journey is complete! We've just arrived at our hotel. As I walk in to the rented conference room for dinner, I spot our emcee Leeshai Lemish with sunken eyes and a tired smile. Rest well, Leeshai‚ we have set up at 6am and two shows tomorrow!
(To be continued...)
April 13, 2012